Bodyweight Exercises: 5 Ways to burn more Calories using only your Body

 by Liesa Huppertz
 - Edit this Post

If you’ve been following along this blog, you might know by now that I am a huge fan of bodyweight exercises. Big machines and heavy dumbbells have actually always terrified me, though there are some great dumbbell workouts.

There is this common misperception that if only using your bodyweight, the training wouldn’t be as effective and muscle gain would be nearly impossible, which is not true, as studies found out. Lately, however, bodyweight exercises are seeing a little comeback and people have realized, that it is not just for wimps. In fact, there are quite some benefits that might even outrank training with weights.

Doing a bodyweight workout

Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight workouts are a great way of exercising if you have limited space and no equipment. However, there are so many more advantages to it.

1. It doesn’t require any Equipment

As a traveler, this is probably the biggest advantage of bodyweight training. Unlike most other forms of exercise, you don’t need any equipment whatsoever. However, you can spice up your bodyweight workout with pull-up bars, plyometric boxes, or resistance bands if you like.

2. It can be done anywhere

Another great advantage for travelers is the fact that you can do your training pretty much wherever you are. All you need is a little space and maybe a mat or a towel and you’re good to go.

Bodyweight exercise squat Sumo Squat

3. It protects your joints

Traditional weight training exercises can potentially go heavy on your joints. Bodyweight training, however, doesn’t beat up your joints as much. On the contrary even, it helps to create strong joints and tendons as it works them the way they were meant to be worked.

4. It helps your body to move just the way it is supposed to move

Bodyweight training helps you develop useful athletic skills that can benefit you in “real life” as well - whether you’re climbing a tree, playing with your kids, or lift a heavy backpack. Thus, as a traveler bodyweight workouts are even more important.

5. It makes you strong

Getting strong isn’t all about how much weight you lift, pull, or push. The important thing is, that your joints and tendons are strong. And since bodyweight exercises work your joints and tendons as they are supposed to be worked, they will make your body stronger and stronger.

Even better, since you’re not only working a single part but multiple parts of your body together, your body will learn how to work together as a whole. This will make your body even more efficient and strong.

Why Bodyweight Exercises are so effective

Outdoor bodyweight workout

Bodyweight exercises are not only terribly convenient as we can do them wherever we are without any equipment, they can also work our strength at the same time as our cardio game. Performing some cardio movements such as burpees or mountain climbers in between some push-ups and crunches will get your heart pumping continuously while still encouraging strength and muscle gain.

A good bodyweight workout can also involve flexibility training. By completing bodyweight exercises through a full range of motion, you ensure that your joints are moving freely. This can also improve your posture and prevent you from getting injured.

Also, instead of working just one part of your body, bodyweight exercises let you work numerous muscles simultaneously. That way you make sure that your whole body looks equally sculpt and toned.

Bodyweight Exercises vs. Weight Training

To be honest, one reason why I have always avoided doing weight training was because I find it really intimidating. However, that hasn’t been the only reason. I also think that bodyweight exercises offer so much versatility which I really enjoy in my workouts. I did a lot of research on whether bodyweight exercises are inferior to weight training and I was so happy to read that even studies show that it is not. Contrary to some common beliefs, bodyweight workouts do in fact build strength and muscles. You can look at your body as your machine, and you have to learn how to use it correctly if you want to see results.

Contrary to bodyweight workouts, traditional gym equipment only focusses on a muscle group alone. This way, you may see results faster, but what it cannot do is working all your muscles together in harmony, creating a synchronized building of muscle groups. When doing bodyweight exercises, you usually use more than one muscle group. For example: When doing a push-up, you target your arms (triceps), but also your chest, biceps, core, and your abs.

At some point, you may realize that a simple lunge or squat isn’t challenging enough for you anymore. The major principal here is progressive overload. Whenever you’re working out and you use weights, be it your own bodyweight or dumbbells etc., your body will start to adapt, you’re getting stronger. That’s the point where you may want to think about incorporating weights into your workout, so you don’t plateau. However, you can also start thinking about modifying your moves and increasing the difficulty. That way, you will burn even more calories and become even stronger.

5 Ways to update your Bodyweight Workout

Always repeating the same exercises, at the same pace and in the same way might not only become pretty boring for you but also for your muscles that get used to the kind of pressure put on them while working out. That's why you should update your workout from time to time.

1. Don’t stick to just one move

Squats are a great move for your booty and legs but I’m sure after a while you get really tired of them. If you try some variations like jump squats, pistol squats, or squat to sidekick, this basic movement gets so much harder.

2. Slow down

You’ve probably done exercises like squats and push-ups hundreds of times. You go down, you get up again, down, and up. Try to slow down a bit. When lowering down, slowly count until five and do the same when you get up again. This makes the exercise so much harder. You can also do small pulses in order to fatigue the muscles.

Slowing down the workout

3. Work smart - save Time

When doing your bodyweight workout, look for exercises that work multiple muscle group and not just a certain muscle. Also, make sure to incorporate some cardio bodyweight exercises.

4. Hold the Pose

If you’ve ever practiced yoga, you know how hard holding a pose can be. Try to hold your poses for 30 seconds or longer before getting out of them again. When your muscles start to shake, you know you’ve worked hard. To make it even harder, hold a pose halfway or while balancing on only one leg.

Holding the pose

5. Go the extra Mile

In order to get stronger and see results, you have to work hard. Don’t just stop if you’ve reached your tenth rep - do two more! Try challenging variations and push yourself past the point where your muscles are burning and you only want to stop.

Some examples of Bodyweight Workouts

Keep reading about 

There are thousands of different yoga exercises that you could do each day. However, many of us struggle to even do half an hour of yoga a day although there are so many benefits to it. If your…

Have you ever heard of Boxingyoga? Just until a little while ago neither have I. Then I got the chance to participate in an event organized by Somuchmore and Chimosa , which introduced me to the…

Your free Inflammation Guide

Learn all about inflammation: What it is, common symptoms and how to fight it naturally. Plus one day anti-inflammatory diet to follow along.